Despite its glitzy reputation, the island once dubbed ‘Kensington on Sea’ has more to offer than well-heeled restaurants and upmarket beaches. The hinterland is both surprisingly rural and shockingly beautiful, while the capital, CorfuTown, is a UNESCO-listed site.
Kérkyra, as Corfu Town is known to locals, is a culture vulture’s dream, awash, as it is, with narrow cobbled streets, top-class museums and a UNESCO-listed old quarter. Occupied by successive waves of invaders, among them the Corinthians, the Venetians and the French, it’s a cosmopolitan place dominated by a vast 16th-century, British-built fortress. As you’ll discover on a holiday to Corfu from Glasgow Airport, highlights include the red-domed St Spyridon Monastery and Mon Repos, a beautiful colonnaded villa in which the Duke of Edinburgh, a member of the Greek Royal family, was born.
A short drive from CorfuTown, Ambelonas is a beautiful old estate that does an excellent line in robust red wine as well as olives and olive oil. Wander through the gnarled clumps of ancient olive trees before heading into the olive mill to watch the presses in action and sample some of the oil. Once your taste for olives is sated, the estate’s vast wine cellar is open for tours and tastings.
According to the ancient Greeks, Paxi was created when sea god Poseidon hit Corfu with his trident and split Paxi away to create a private retreat for himself and his wife Amphitrite. True or not, there’s no denying that the island, a short ferry ride from Corfu, is a beautiful, peaceful spot dotted with olive groves and blessed with gorgeous white sandy beaches. Don’t miss the striking ‘blue caves’, a network of stunning coastal grottos reachable by boat.